On Friday 26th September, after work I took the Shinkansen (bullet train) to Hakata on Kyushu, the southern most of Japan’s main 4 main islands. It was a good trip, this time I reserved my seat and enjoyed the long journey. It was 5 hours from Tokyo to Hakata and as far as I would travel that night. I arrived just before midnight and stayed in a business hotel by the station.
I started early on Saturday getting an early train to Nagasaki where I met my parents who had made the full journey earlier on Friday while I was working. The journey from Hakata to Nagasaki was lovely, the train went down the coast past many small coastal towns.
At 0930 I arrived at Nagasaki. My parents had already been out exploring and had bought us tram passes from the day ready to explore the city.
Nagasaki, not surprisingly has a very different feel to Tokyo and surroundings. There is a lot more space and the harbour and river dominate the city with the city filling all of the flat space and up many of the hill sides going up from the river.
We started with a tram journey to the Peace Park, a park to commemorate the atomic bomb that hit Nagasaki at 11:02 on 9th August 1945. It was a lovely garden with memorials from all over the world and a nice fountain to commemorate those who had died, many of whom were evidently begging for water to drink. The statue pictured below is pointing to the sky where the bomb came from.
We followed this by a walk to the Atomic Bomb Hypocentre Park which has a memorial to mark the spot above which the bomb exploded ( it exploded at an altitude of about 500m). It’s a sobering place to visit. The black monument is pointing to the place above where the bomb exploded. The colourful flags/streamers are brought by school children visiting the site and remembering those who lost their lives and hope for peace.
After lunch we visited Glover Garden. Glover was a Scot ‘the Scottish Samurai’ who helped modernise Nagasaki in the Meiji period when Japan first opened up to the outside world. He built Japan’s first railway and helped establish the shipbuilding industry including importing a crane from Scotland, still present and working in Nagasaki.
For more information on the importance of this crane in the industrial history of both Japan and Scotland see the following link:
The famous crane (much photographed on our visit, particularly by my Dad!).
The Glover Garden is an outdoor museum with old buildings moved to the site on the side of the hill overlooking the city and harbour.
On the way back to the hotel before dinner we took a short walk through China town:
On Sunday morning I got up early and went for a lovely long run along the harbour side. Nagasaki is a good place to run with a good wide path along the edge of the river and harbour. After running and breakfast, we took the cable car up to Inasa-yama above Nagasaki with great (if a little hazy) views on the city and out to sea.
On Sunday afternoon after lunch we headed back to Tokyo enjoying rather splendid bento boxes for dinner on the Shinkansen (bullet train).
A great weekend. I really liked Nagasaki.